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J Biol Chem. 1998 Oct 30;273(44):28545-8.

Biological role of the CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein family of transcription factors.

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Clinical Gene Therapy Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1851, USA.


CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBPs) comprise a family of transcription factors that are critical for normal cellular differentiation and function in a variety of tissues. The prototypic C/EBP is a modular protein, consisting of an activation domain, a dimerization bZIP region, and a DNA-binding domain. All family members share the highly conserved dimerization domain, required for DNA binding, by which they form homo- and heterodimers with other family members. C/EBPs are least conserved in their activation domains and vary from strong activators to dominant negative repressors. The pleiotropic effects of C/EBPs are in part because of tissue- and stage-specific expression. Dimerization of different C/EBP proteins precisely modulates transcriptional activity of target genes. Recent work with mice deficient in specific C/EBPs underscores the effects of these factors in tissue development, function, and response to injury.

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